P.O. Box 41, 4000 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M6S 2T7
There is a buzz on social media today about a new Muslim Reform Movement, and many of you are wondering what this is all about. Here is some background.
The Paris terrorism attacks seemed to be the last straw for many Muslims like us who abhor violence in the name of our faith. So we decided to do something about radical Islamist extremism growing by the day and threatening the future of our next generations.
A group of reform-minded Muslims gathered in Washington DC for a brainstorming session. While we were there, the San Bernardino terror attacks took place and we quickly realized that we have reached the tipping point. This made our work even more urgent.
This initiative was started by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, an ex-naval officer of the US Navy and now a Physician. He invited thinkers, academics, activists and two Imams from Copenhagen, London, Ottawa, Toronto, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Portland to gather for a 24-hour summit. We discussed and debated what we could do to go beyond words and start taking some action. After intense talks for two days, in which we debated terminology, ideas and theology, we came up with a declaration and a course of action.
On Dec 4, we jointly presented the declaration at a press conference hosted at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The Youtube link for this is:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlAnr8bIIr8&feature=youtu.be
Following the press conference some of us went to a place founded by the most diabolical country in the world which funds terrorism and is the root of our problems: The Saudi funded Mosque in Washington DC. Here we posted the first declaration on the door – despite threats and intimidation from the administration. A few brave men from our group led the way for us as we reclaimed our first space – three women prayed in the main section of the Mosque. This is ground breaking not just for all Mosques but particularly for this one. We were nearly arrested but we persevered and left the stamp of the Muslim Reform Movement on their grounds.
The declaration is noted below with names of the signees. This is a work in progress and our aim is to invite all our friends and neighbors – people of faith and those of no faith – to join our movement because we can’t do this alone. The time has come that when people ask “where are the Muslim voices” everyone should be able to say “here they are!”
MUSLIM REFORM MOVEMENT
We are Muslims who live in the 21st century. We stand for a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam. We are in a battle for the soul of Islam, and an Islamic renewal must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states, as well as an Islamic caliphate. We seek to reclaim the progressive spirit with which Islam was born in the 7th century to fast forward it into the 21st century. We support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by UN member states in 1948.
We reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice, and politicized Islam. Facing the threat of terrorism, intolerance, and social injustice in the name of Islam, we have reflected on how we can transform our communities based on three principles: peace, human rights and secular governance. We are announcing today the formation of an international initiative: Muslim Reform Movement.
We have courageous reformers from around the world who will outline our Declaration for Muslim Reform, a living document that we will continue to enhance as our journey continues. We invite our fellow Muslims and neighbors to join us.
A. Peace: National Security, Counterterrorism and Foreign Policy
1. We stand for universal peace, love, and compassion. We reject violent jihad. We believe we must target the ideology of violent Islamist extremism in order to liberate individuals both in Muslim-majority societies and the West from the scourge of oppression and terrorism.
2. We stand for the protection of all people of all faiths and non-faiths who seek freedom from dictatorships, theocracies and Islamist extremists.
3. We reject bigotry, oppression and violence against all people based on any prejudice, including ethnicity, gender, language, religion, sexual orientation and gender expression.
B. Human Rights: Women’s Rights and Minority Rights
1. We stand for human rights and justice. We support equal rights and dignity for all people, including minorities. We support the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
2. We reject tribalism, castes, monarchies, and patriarchies and consider all people equal with no birth rights other than human rights. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Muslims don’t have an exclusive right to “heaven.”
3. We support equal rights for women, including equal rights to inheritance, witness, work, mobility, personal law, education, and employment. Men and women have equal rights in mosques, boards, leadership and all spheres of society. We reject sexism and misogyny.
C. Secular Governance: Freedom of Speech and Religion
1. We are for secular governance, democracy and liberty. We are against political movements in the name of religion. We separate mosque and state. We are loyal to the nations in which we live. We reject the idea of the Islamic state. There is no need for an Islamic caliphate. We oppose institutionalized sharia. Sharia is manmade.
2. We believe in life, joy, free speech and the beauty all around us. Every individual has the right to publically express criticism of Islam. Ideas do not have rights. Human beings have rights. We reject blasphemy laws, which are a mask to restrict freedom of speech and religion. We affirm every individual’s right to critical thinking, and seek a revival of ijtihad.
3. We believe in the freedom of religion, and the right of all people to express and practice their faith, or non-faith, without threat of intimidation, persecution, or discrimination or violence. Apostasy is not a crime. Our ummah–our community–is all of humanity, and not just Muslims.
We stand for peace, human rights and secular governance. Please stand with us!
December 3, 2015
Facebook: Muslim Reform Movement
Please find us on Change.org
Tahir Gora, firstname.lastname@example.org (Canada, Toronto, author, journalist, activist)
Tawfik Hamid, email@example.com (US, Islamic thinker and reformer)
Usama Hasan, usama.hasan@Quilliamfoundation.org (UK, Imam, Quilliam Foundation)
Arif Humayun, firstname.lastname@example.org (US, American Islamic Forum for Democracy Senior Fellow)
Farahnaz Ispahani, email@example.com (Author and Former Member of Parliament, Pakistan)
M. Zuhdi Jasser, Zuhdi@ZLiberty.com (US, President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy)
Mohamad Jebara, firstname.lastname@example.org (Canada, Ottawa Imam, Cordova Center)
Naser Khader, email@example.com (Denmark, Member, Danish Parliament, Muslim democracy activist)
Courtney Lonergan, firstname.lastname@example.org (US, American Islamic Foundation for Democracy, Community Outreach Director, Professional facilitator)
Hasan Mahmud, email@example.com (Canada, Muslims Facing Tomorrow, expertise in Shariah)
Asra Nomani, firstname.lastname@example.org (US, Journalist, Author)
Raheel Raza, email@example.com (Canada, Founder, Muslims Facing Tomorrow)
Sohail Raza, Razzazz55@gmail.com (Canada, Director in Forum for Learning, Vice President of CPCMO-Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations)
Salma Siddiqui, firstname.lastname@example.org (Canada, President, Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations)
Thank you, Raheel, for all the work you and your colleagues have done to make this very important declaration. We all must take action to make our Canada and the world a safer place to live. Dianna (Burlington, Ont)
Date: Sat, 5 Dec 2015 03:23:53 +0000 To: email@example.com
I like this very much. I sometimes feel that some of you are reluctant to defend Islam against efforts efforts to malign it and to persecute Muslims. Still, it is your movement. What is important is that we all speak out from our different platforms for our shared values and against bigotry and zenophobia. But don’t sell your religion short. Islam in many parts of the world is a religion of tolerance.
Do Away with religious wear in public (hijabs, niqabs, skull caps etc) ….it creates social problems in the West; creates separation rather than inclusion & assimilation. #2 – instead of seeking refuge in the West – stay where you are & create a society that is modern, democratic, peaceful and successful …champion human rights & women rights. #3 Get rid of medieval Sharia law. #4 get rid of corrupt gangs of men who continually hijack & undermine the good of all. Congratulations on starting the process of reformation- centuries overdue.
No mention above about wanting to follow the commands of Allah and His prophet, no mention about following the example of Mohammed. I suppose one can not actually do that and abide by this reformation manifesto.
The first thing that must be done is to accept that ‘radicalization’ is a legitimate interpretation of Mohammed’s teaching, and was believed and upheld by Mohammed and the early muslim community. After this is admitted, the Quran needs to be reworked or thrown out. Then Mohammed has to either be radically re-imagined to fit in with this tolerance reform. Until then no real reform of Islam is possible.
Very short list of signees I think of course not every muslim can be named but the list of more well known figures could be longer or not?
These are just the initial signatories to the declaration. If you go to our fb page you will see thousands of likes and comments. Every Journey starts with the first step and this is ours.
I believe as you do in human rights, in women’s rights. Anything less is not from G-d and the light. We must work together for everyone’s benefit.
[…] MUSLIM REFORM MOVEMENT – for a better future for humanity – Dec 4. 2015 […]
Reblogged this on Graham Moore – English Democrats and commented:
These are the people to follow
Raheel, I am a Christian who is wondering what non-Muslims can do to help encourage reform.
They can support our Muslim Reform Movement and sign the petition on change.org. thanks for asking.
I was very excited to read about your group and your mission. This is what we have been waiting for and what is needed for the Muslim community to get their due respect. It is very helpful to learn the difference in each faction of your religion. I for one had never heard of you or your progressive faction. Thank you and God bless you in your continued efforts.
P.O. Box 41, 4000 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M6S 2T7
Welcome to Raheel Raza’s Official Website
You are a great hope for the future of mankind and an inspiration to what will be multitudes. May your efforts to bring peace to this world be blessed. Thank you.